Xcel Energy has launched its largest-ever Upper Midwest wind investment, with a plan to grow its Upper Midwest wind energy fleet by 60 percent. Xcel Energy announced plans Friday to add 1,550 megawatts of new wind generation in the Upper Midwest. The proposal is Xcel Energy’s largest to date with a total of seven wind farms to be built in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.
The signage is all around — that renewable energy has all green lights ahead, despite the current White House’s emphasis on the expansion of traditional fossil fuels. Both corporate America and the governors from 20 states are going all-in to support sustainable fuels. Their reasoning is grounded in economics — that the cost of wind and solar technologies has fallen dramatically and that, in turn, has led to their impressive growth. Indeed, about 60% of the electricity added to the grid in 2016 came from wind and solar energy. “The growth of the renewable energy industry is an American success story built on federal research and development, state policy leadership, private sector investment, and ingenuity,” write Governors Gina Raimondo, D-RI. and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., also the chair and vice-chair of the Governors Wind Energy Coalition, in a letter to President Trump
A U.S. subsidiary of the Spanish energy conglomerate Iberdrola SA paid more than $9 million for the rights to develop offshore wind farms on North Carolina’s outer continental shelf. Portland, Ore.-based Avangrid Renewables LLC won the lease in a 17-round competitive auction yesterday administered by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The provisional winning bid of $9.06 million, or just over $74 per acre, will allow Avangrid to begin scoping the 122,400-acre wind energy area roughly 24 nautical miles from Kitty Hawk with the possibility of building wind turbines in the coming years.
Some energy analysts are optimistic that renewables will continue to surge under the Donald Trump administration, with or without help from the Clean Power Plan. Part of that cheerful outlook is due to huge renewable energy buys already in the pipeline. These projects will be difficult if not impossible to reverse. A case in point is the latest news from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which just announced a $9 million winning bid in auction for more than 122,000 acres of offshore wind energy development in the waters of North Carolina, at Kitty Hawk.
Local wind-energy proponents breathed a measured sigh of relief this week after the Department of the Interior Thursday completed an offshore wind-power auction, and a Trump administration official offered support for wind as part of the country’s overall energy “toolbox.” But the boost for wind power came on the same day as President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed doing away with green-energy programs such as EnergyStar, which rates products for their efficiency, and a long list of renewable-energy research and development initiatives. Among them, Trump proposed eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and other renewables programs in favor of those that boost fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
Trump administration officials have told lobbyists and European diplomats that the U.S. won’t stay in the nearly 200-nation Paris climate change agreement unless it can secure wins for the fossil fuel industry, according to three people familiar with the discussions. In a series of recent conversations with industry groups and European officials, Trump advisers have said the White House decision on the Paris deal could hinge on international willingness to come up with a strategy to commercialize and deploy technologies that will reduce emissions from fossil fuels.
The world must swiftly shift energy production away from fossil fuels if it is to prevent a dangerous increase in global temperatures, according to separate reports released Monday by two international agencies. Both reports concluded that fundamentally changing the way power is produced would require considerable investment — though there were would also be savings due to improvements in energy efficiency.
The company that built the United States’ first offshore wind farm says the powerful storm that hit the Northeast this week was a chance to go “full throttle” and put the turbines through their paces. Deepwater Wind says all five turbines off Rhode Island operated at full capacity during much of Tuesday’s nor’easter. It says the wind farm automatically powered down for several hours when the sustained wind speeds exceeded 55 mph, the designated limit. Winds got as high as 70 mph.
Unfortunately, DOE spending under the budget plan issued Thursday would be cut by $1.7 billion, or 5.6 percent. The proposal would eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), despite vast success the program has had in driving new energy technologies that would otherwise have been too risky for the private sector to undertake. Since 2009, ARPA-E has awarded more than $1.5 billion for more than 500 projects, which, in turn, have attracted $1.8 billion in funding from the private sector. The Trump budget plan would also slash some $900 million – or about 20 percent – from DOE’s Office of Science. While no specifics have been offered, the plan says the cuts will ensure the department “continues to invest in the highest priority basic science and energy research and development as well as operation and maintenance of existing scientific facilities for the community.” The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is among a number of energy research offices expected to be cut to achieve what the plan calls a focus “on limited, early-stage applied energy research and development activities where the federal role is stronger.”
Supporters of renewable energy need to talk about more than how solar and wind power can combat climate change if the sector is to attract a wider base of support, the director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory told a room full of solar power executives Tuesday. “We have interesting times in Washington, so we here at NREL need your help,” NREL Director Martin Keller said during his keynote speech at the annual conference of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield.